Blaming and scapegoating

Another mistaken blink-of-an-eye assumption (or “mis-blink“) that we can easily fall into during times of change is called blaming or scapegoating.

When a situation turns out differently from the way we expected and we then blame a person for something they had only partial control over, we are mixing up the person, the event, and our feelings about the event: we are ‘scapegoating’ the individual.

Human beings have used this way of getting rid of unpleasant feelings for thousands of years but it is inappropriate and it doesn’t make the situation any better.

This complex mis-blink is likely to contain a mix of all the other mis-blinks:

  • a value judgment (of the person)
  • attachment (to the outcome that didn’t happen)
  • blinkered thinking (that the failure to get the outcome we wanted is somehow “a complete disaster”)
  • expectation (that it ‘should‘ have turned out differently from the way it did) and assumption (that it was going to)
  • mistaking feelings for truth (imagining that because we feel upset someone else must be to blame)
    and perhaps even
  • dependency (for the actions that we ourselves didn’t take, which might have led to a different outcome).

All of this makes scapegoating a great way for us to dump or project our own emotions on to another person, which might make us feel better, but it doesn’t improve the situation.

Better, instead, to manage our emotions and make clearer sense of what has happened. Use the tools of Chapter 1 of Inner Leadership to centre and ground ourselves and the people around us. Then use the tool in Chapter 2 to understand what is real, what is imagined, and then learn from what happened.

Then we can identity the only two things that really matter: what we will (all) do differently next time and what we will do now to move forward.